Ellis County Couple Indicted For Retirement Ripoff

Kelli Wiese
October 24, 2018 - 2:12 pm

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RED OAK (1080 KRLD) - An Ellis county couple is indicted for embezzling millions of dollars from retirement funds.

Officials say Jeffrey Richie and Wendy Richie of Red Oak are accused of embezzling $14.5 million from retirement plans they managed at their business called Vantage Benefits Administrators.

Prosecutors say they misappropriated funds from at least one thousand plan participants in at least 20 employer's retirement plans. The indictment indicates Vantage served as third party administrator for dozens of retirement funds, including several 401K's.

With her husband's knowledge, Ms. Richie allegedly submitted fraudulent distribution requests to the retirement fund custodian, Matrix Trust Co. However, instead of depositing the money into beneficiaries' accounts, she transferred it into Vantage's operating account.

The couple is accused of using those funds to pay Vantage payroll and other operating expenses.

The Richie's are also accused of using those funds for personal expenses, including mortgage and escrow payments, farming equipment, and home décor.  If convicted on all counts, the Richies could face up to 81 years in federal prison.

The Department of Labor - Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration, and the Texas State Auditor's Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stokes is prosecuting the case.